Having to channel all my fishing desires into fly tying like many others in these strange times I have been honing some pattern ideas for carp. One fish food source that is abundant in most freshwater bodies is tadpoles and around here they are about all year round.
Like many creatures, hundreds are born to survive predation, I always think it’s partly to supply food for predacious creatures. There are quite a few patterns out there, mainly aimed at trout, and I have some favourites that have worked well for me. But I wanted to come up with a tadpole fly for my local river carp.
It is a tailwater so it has a good flow year-round and we often fish in relatively fast water, so getting flies down to the bottom quickly where the carp mainly feed is critical, and the “trout” patterns I use just don’t do that. There’s quite a lot of water resistance in tadpole’s body shape so I sought to try something that would allow the fly to sink quickly but still have body.
Flexo tubing that is used in the Flexo Crab was a genius idea for just that, having a profile but being able to sink fast since water can pass through the flexo with less resistance. I used that idea and also wanted a pattern that sat hook point up and where the tail stood up vertically which is a great trait in carp flies and often the way tadpoles rest on the bottom or when they feed. The Flexpole is what I have come up with for this.
Initially, I used black squirmy wormy rubber for the tail which looked great and has good movement and is proven for carp and so many other fish in the variety of squirmy wormy flies. I tied up some prototypes to test over this past summer, but the tails kept breaking off too easily and I didn’t get them in front of any feeding carp to see the reaction or catch anything. I have also started moving away from squirmy wormies because the rubber perishes and becomes a gooey mess in my fly boxes after some time.
Looking for alternatives to tails, marabou made the most sense but it tends to flair out which would still work but wasn’t the profile I was looking for. Having moved the topical fish tank onto the verandah making it a cold water tank for indigenous fish, my boys dropped loads of tadpoles into it and it has become a great observation platform.
Tadpole tails have a central axis then translucent fins attached to the axis, ostrich hurl was the perfect match in my mind. So this is what I have settled on and through in a bit of red hurl with red and black being a very productive colour combination for our local carp. What is great about ostrich hurl is that it has plenty of movement but at the same time settles straight so it still has the movement but with the standing up straight ability I was looking for in a tail.
I haven’t had a chance to test the fly out properly as lockdown kicked in just before I had enough free time and our prime carp season started. But I did have a confident eat on my last session before our lockdown but unfortunately, the hook didn’t purchase.
Here’s a video showing how fast the fly drops through the water, how it lands upright with the ostrich hurl standing up but still having micro-movement which I’m pretty sure carp will love. Following the video is an SBS if you’re interested in tying it and giving it a go on your local waters. I’m sure it’ll work well for yellowfish as well.
Hook: Fasna F-410, Size 10, Wide Gape Jig Hook or similar.
Thread: 6/0 or 100-140 Denier Black.
Bead chain black or fluorescent orange if a spotter works for you.
Tungsten dumbbell 2-3mm in black. I have used silver here so that it’s visible.
Body – 5mm Flexo tubing in Black. 25mm long for this hook. You may have to adjust this for different hook chank lengths.
Tail: Black and red ostrich hurl. Only black could work too.
- Tie in the dumbbell eyes just behind the bend of the jig hook bend.
2. Tie in the bead chain eyes right up and behind the dumbbell.
3. Tie in 3 to 4 the black ostrich hurls on the top of the hook shank, note the flared fin on the axis/stalk of the ostrich hurl.
4. Tie in 3-4 strands of the red ostrich hurl on top of the black hurl. Remember the fly sits hook point up and tie the hurl in along and around the bend of the hook shank to help it point upwards.
5. Take your 25mm flex tubing and singe the ends to give the flexo and edge/bump to secure the thread. Make sure that the individual flexo threads don’t stick together for the back end as you will need to pass this over the dumbbell and bead chain. The front end felxo threads can melt together if it’s easier for you.
6. Pull the flexo over the dumbbell eyes and tie off securing with strong glue or UV resin.
7. Tie off the flexo chord in the front and flip it over and Hey Flexo.
Shot on the Canon EOS RP Mirrorless – Lens Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM